Taking off with Scootitude!

8 05 2012

It had seemed for a brief moment that I had found myself on a flight of fancy – not one of my own, but that of a group of men and women dressed in yellow tops that I had found myself in the company of. One in the group, a tall gentleman, spoke of how what they were giving me (and a group of others) an introduction to had come out of a flash against a somewhat surreal backdrop of a combination of hues that could possibly only have been painted by the hand of an artist. Much as it might have seemed otherwise, it was in fact something that had become real – the tall gentleman being Campbell Wilson, the CEO of Scoot,Singapore’s newest airline. And it was in the capsule of the Singapore Flyer that a group of bloggers and I had been holed in which provided not just a great vantage to what was a remarkable sunset over Marina Bay, but also an ideal location to hear about Scoot and what the airline is all about.

A flight of fancy into the surreal colours of an unusual sunset?

Before Campbell got down to giving us the lowdown on Scoot, there was some fun to be had … girls pitted against boys in a game that exposed my inability to properly draw much more than a few basic shapes – there being no escape from it with nowhere I could possibly hide in the confines of the capsule. After a reward of a boxful of snacks (after all a prominent blogger did refer to the airline as “So Cheap-O Overseas Travel”), it was down to the quick presentation by Campbell during which we heard that it had all begun in May 2011 with a flash – a flash drive that is ….

Inside the Scoot capsule on the Flyer.

It was refreshing to hear what Scoot, which aims to fill a gap in the low cost carrier market for flights that go beyond a 4 hour range, was all about. The fun that we had at the start, and what was to follow later, certainly provided a feel of what the good people behind the new airline wanted to be seen as – quirky, fun, informal, engaging and inclusive – something that must appeal to youthful crowd they hope to reach out to as well as the young at heart, a category I should at least qualify for.

It was an evening of fun … but what was Kevin attempting to depict???

One thing interesting I was to learn about Scoot was its out-of-the-ordinary recruitment process – designed to select candidates for its cabin crew that show what the airline terms as “Scootitude” to project that fun and quirky image it wants to project. I was to have the opportunity to see this first-hand and must say it was a process that had the candidates and staff involved wearing lots of smiles and one that I quite enjoyed being at.

The fun-to-be-at cabin crew selection process involves both individual and group participation from the candidates and is intended to identify those who show “Scootitude”.

Staff seemed to be having fun too at the recruitment drive.

Evaluators assessing candidates as they participate in a group exercise.

Another thing that did come out in the presentation on the flyer besides hearing about the four destinations announced thus far: Sydney (to which the Inaugural Flight on 4 June 2012 is to), Gold Coast, Tianjin and Bangkok, is the series of promotional events in the lead up to its inaugural flight, which included a “Bid the Price Down” campaign in China, a “Name Our Babies” contest, as well as a Spot a Scoot Cab contest in Singapore which is currently ongoing in which a pair of tickets can be won every two weeks during an eight week period which ends on 31 May 2012. More details can be found on the FlyScoot Facebook Page.

The evening’s fun ended with great food at the Singapore Food Trail under the flyer ….

The evening’s fun did have to end – but not without great food 1960s Singapore style, at the Singapore Food Trail under the Flyer – the promise of which might have been the motivation for me in taking up Scoot’s invitation to fly with them, and in great company … I am certainly glad I did take the invitation up – not only did I learn more about Scoot and what the airline aims to do, I was able to also meet some great people to be with – people that I certainly wouldn’t mind flying with.

… and in great company … CEO Campbell Wilson is seen looking away from the camera …

Head of Cabin Services Ng Ju Li with two of members of her cabin services team.

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Delights around Marina Bay

22 03 2012

One of the wonderful things I was able to do as an official blogger for i Light Marina Bay 2012, was to spend part of an evening right on top of the world. That world that I write of is Marina Bay – a showpiece of modern Singapore, which when viewed 57 floors up from the Sands SkyPark, is a world that is certain to take one’s breath away. The view around Marina Bay from SkyPark is stunning to say the least and has to be the highlight of a visit to the roof of Marina Bay Sands – a view that for a little more than 3 weeks is being enhanced by some of the more visible of the 31 light art installations scattered around the body of water for what is Asia’s first and only sustainable light art festival.

The view of the showpiece of the new Singapore - Marina Bay, 57 floors up from the Sands SkyPark.

Being 57 floors up does provide a very different experience of the installations around Marina Bay that can been clearly seen. The Light of The Merlion that lies across the bay is certainly one that is to be noticed, as is the red-orange glow of the illuminated plastic igloo that is Bibigloo located at the Promontory @ Marina Bay. Surveying the scene around the incomplete circle of light that is Immersion at the far end of the Float @ Marina Bay would also be seen. It is however, with one’s feet firmly on the ground, that offers one the best multi-sensory experience of most of the installations. This is especially so for the festival’s largest projection – the light and sound show that is the Garden of Light.

Garden of Light - an animated projection on three fingers of the ArtScience Museum using 3D digital mapping techniques by Hexogon Solution.

The Garden of Light is an animated projection on three of the fingers of the ArtScience Museum. The projection, created using 3D digital mapping technology, is on the evidence of the interest created, one of the more popular installations. Best viewed (and photographed) from the viewing platforms on the Helix (bridge), it has been one that never fails to catch my attention, despite having watched the show several times from both the Helix and also below the ArtScience Museum. The show is the work of Singapore based Hexogon Solution and was conceived by its founder, Adrian Goh. Having moved into the field of video mapping projections in 2009, Hexogon has been involved in several large-scale projections that includes one on a commercial airliner and also one on the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore. The eight-minute show uses a combination of light and sound effects intended to send out a message of environmental sustainability that highlights the beauty of the natural world. The light and sound show is one I have to say is one of the most spectacular and one that greatly enhances the visual experience of the ArtScience Museum. It would be nice to see the installation being there on a permanent basis to allow future visitors to the area, and those like me who never tire of it to have an opportunity to take-in what has to be said celebrates the ArtScience Museum’s unique architecture – something that perhaps Marina Bay Sands may want to consider.

Another 'scene' from the Garden of Light.

The installation along with the Light of The Merlion has to be one of the most photographed installations at i Light Marina Bay 2012.

Martin Bevz and Kathryn Clifton's Immersion as seen from Sands SkyPark.

BIBI's Bibigloo seen from Sands SkyPark.

OCUBO's Light of The Merlion seen from above.

The location of the Garden of Light, is close enough to a cluster of 8 installations in and around the seating gallery of the Float @ Marina Bay to include a visit to the eight installations – one that has gone down very well is Key Frames from Groupe LAPS. The are also several under the seating gallery. A few of these I have already made a mention of such as Aleksandra Stratimirovic’s well received and rather successful attempt at making an ugly space beautiful, Sweet Home, Dev Harlan’s Parmenides I, and Andrew Daly and Katherine Fife’s Crystallised. Besides those already mentioned, there are two other installations under the seating gallery, one is Light Collective’s Urban Makyoh and the other – one that absolutely delighted me, is Takahiro Matsuo’s White Rain

Key Frames.

And what made me think Parmenides I was an installation one couldn't interact with?

Urban Makyoh involves light reflections projected from mirrored stencils.

White Rain – takes a little bit of effort in finding – an effort that was certainly worth it. The description I received describes it is an installation of white light which focuses on the sense of infinity produced by the behaviour and the beauty of light in which participants experience the poetry and beauty of light which falls like rain around them. What makes the installation a joy to take-in is that the rain of light that seems to fall as natural rain does, falls as one moves through it, intensifying and easing off depending on how one moves through it. It is one that I enjoyed observing especially standing away from the installation. As I stood and stared in the silence and the darkness, it seemed that I could almost hear the sound of the falling rain.

Takahiro Matsuo's White Rain.

There are just two weekends left before the festival ends on 1 April 2012 to take in each of the 31 installations. 31 “small delights” as one I met would have it. It is a festival that has certainly delighted me greatly, and one which I will continue visiting for the small delights that the interaction with each of the installations does bring. More information on the installations and on the festival and fringe activities can be found at www.ilightmarinabay.sg.


All photographs in this post have been taken with a LUMIX GF-3.


Related posts:

Media Preview and an Overview of some of the installations

Opening Ceremony and the Light of The Merlion

Light Painting by LUMIX and other Fringe Activities

Lighting up for Sustainability and Philips Supported Installations


About i Light Marina Bay 2012:

i Light Marina Bay 2012, the second edition of Asia’s first and only sustainable light art festival, will be held from 9 March to 1 April 2012. Themed “Light Meets Asia”, i Light Marina Bay 2012 features innovative and environmentally sustainable light art installations by 31 multi-disciplinary artists, with a strong focus on works from Asia. The festival is organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in collaboration with Smart Light Singapore. i Light Marina Bay will be on nightly from 7.30pm to 11.00pm from 9 March to 1 April 2012. For more information, please visit www.ilightmarinabay.sg. In conjunction with the festival, LUMIX is running a photography competition for which participants who can capture the magical atmosphere created by the light art installations around Marina Bay stand to win attractive prizes. More information can be found at the festival website.





You’ve gotta love that Verve

6 12 2011

Nothing beats having simple things done right, and that is just what a Pizza Bar in Marina Bay, which had its opening on 1 Dec 2011, attempts to do with its selection of pizzas, pastas and gelato. “Simple things done right” is a guiding principle that has found its way into the motto of Verve, the group that behind the Pizza Bar which is the latest addition to its family, as well as Pizzerias in Clarke Quay and One North, having started out at its original location in Gillman Village.

Gelato being served on opening night on 1 Dec 2011. An exquisite set of flavours of Verve's homemade gelato is on offer at the Pizza Bar on Marina Bay at $6 a scoop.

Mr Rob Coldman and partner Karen on opening night.

The band played on ....

Verve, the brainchild of Mr Rob Coldman, is very much inspired by passionate people behind simple but great products that people want, products that are without complication and fuss. This includes the likes of Enrico Piaggio, whose vision of developing a low-cost motorcycle for the masses in the 1940s resulted in the Vespa scooter – the simplicity of which endures to this very day.

Pizzas, gelato, tiramisù shots, cocktails and more was on offer at Verve Marina Bay's opening night on 1 Dec 2011.

My introduction to Verve, came by way of an invitation to an event at the Marina Bay City Gallery which culminated in a tasting session at the al fresco Pizza Bar – the setting of which was simple and almost unassuming. Comfortably seated, it was what came next that delighted me. First to be served were the cocktails and if not for the fact that I was driving, I would have had more than one of the refreshing Appletinis, made with fresh Granny Smith apples. The selection of starters Calamari with Garlic Cream and Potato Wedges with Chilli Crab dip were simply well fried, drained and utterly delicious especially the Chilli Crab dip that accompanied the wedges.

An Appletini - made with fresh Granny Smith apples.

Verve Pizza Bar at the Marina Bay City Gallery.

Calamari with Verve Garlic Cream.

Potato Wedges with Chilli Crab dip.

What I certainly enjoyed the most were the pizzas – authentic thin crust Italian style pizzas made with fresh dough and topped with a simple and well-balanced selection of toppings that gave the pizzas a clean and uncomplicated taste – just how I like my pizzas. Of the pizzas we were to taste, the Enzo bowled me over with its toppings of Peking duck with just the right amount of sauce, fresh Japanese cucumber and spring onions –the menu did hint that “You’ll come back for more!” and its something I certainly would go back for a lot more! The other pizzas on offer, the Altobello (Spicy Beef), Mancini (BBQ Chicken) and Capricciosa (Ham and Artichokes), were no less delicious, and if not for the unique experience of Peking duck on pizza the Capricciosa would have got my vote.

Pizza Capricciosa with Mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms, artichokes, cooked.

Pizza Mancini - BBQ chicken with onions, cheese and peppers.

Pizza Enzo - Peking duck topped with fresh Japanese cucumber ... the menu suggests that "You'll come back for more!" - I certainly would!

There was also a treat at the end, a raid on the gelato bar. With a selection of Forrest Berries Sorbet, Decadent Chocolate, Lime Sorbet, Chocolate Baileys, Hazelnut, pistachio, Green Almond, Vanilla Cognac, Cookies and Cream – it was hard to make a choice. I finally settled on the Hazelnut – I somehow invariably fall for a nut flavoured gelato, something that I had no regrets about, savouring each mouthful of the soft creamy and nutty flavoured treat – something as well that I would most certainly be back again for more!

Too many choices at the gelato counter!

A selection of gelato.


About Verve:

Verve was established with a short motto that has become the guiding principle to our business proposition. “Simple things done right”.

We’ve been inspired by passionate people who have set out to do the same. People who have provided simple but great products that people want, without complication and without fuss.

People like aeronautical designer, Enrico Piaggio who back in the 1940’s had a vision of a low-cost motorcycle for the masses.

Long before ergonomic studies had been recognised or fully understood, the riding position of the Vespa was designed by Enrico to let the rider sit upright with a clear view, comfortably and safely.

The motorbikes of the time he found to be uncomfortable and bulky, with wheels that were difficult to change after a puncture. Worse still, the drive chain made them dirty. However, his aeronautical experience secured the answer to every problem. To eliminate the chain he designed a vehicle with a stress-bearing body and direct mesh; he put the gear lever on the handlebar to make it easier to ride; to make tyre changing easier he removed the forks in favour of a supporting arm similar to an olio aircraft carriage. Finally, he designed a body that would protect the driver so that he would not get dirty or dishevelled.

In 1946 the first Vespa (Wasp in Italian) was born. It has become an enduring icon in it’s own right, and as transport for the masses is a perfect example of something simple, done right.

Classic images of Enrico’s work can be found at our new restaurant at One-North, off North Buona Vista Road.

Like Enrico’s Vespa, our aim is to continually improve.

http://verve.sg.






A night at the Opera

4 07 2011

Teochew that is! I had the opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do … get up close and personal with the performers at the back of the wayang stage, and with the kind invitation of the URA’s Marina Bay Singapore and the Select Group’s Singapore Food Trail, I got to do just that over the weekend. The behind the scenes visit allowed a group of us to watch and photograph performers of the Thau Yong Amateur Musical Association backstage (on an authentic wayang stage borrowed from the Pulau Ubin opera troupe) as they went through their routines in getting dolled up for the evening’s performance. The performances were part of the Singapore Food Trail’s initiatives to bring back the good old days of Singapore in what was termed as “A Night of Nostalgia” to bring us back to the heyday of Teochew Opera on the streets of Singapore in the 1960s.

The Singapore Food Trail aims to bring the atmosphere of the streets of the Singapore of the 1960s with authentic street hawker fare in a 1960s setting under the Singapore Flyer.

The colours that the various genres of Chinese operas (often referred to locally as “wayang”) brought to the streets of the Singapore of old, if not for anything else, always were a visual treat. They were a huge draw, bringing with them the entourage of mobile vendor providing a carnival like atmosphere each time they came to the area. My maternal grandmother with her lack of the command of any other language other than her native Bahasa Indonesia was a huge fan, often dragging me along in my early years as her companion. And even when I could never sit quite still below the wayang stage as the performers went about their routines, I was a more than willing companion to my grandmother as I could never resist the reward of a drink from the bird’s nest drink vendor which more often than not was a sweetened drink with bits of jelly in it which was made to taste like the real thing, and also a visit to the toy vendor from which I could get my hands on items such as a sword made of paper mache that split into two lengthwise when it came out of the paper mache scabbard.

Street operas were a favourite of my maternal grandmother. Performers from the Thau Yong Amateur Musical Associationare seen performing an excerpt from The Fragrant Handkerchief on an authentic stage at the Singapore Food Trail.

What sometimes fascinated me on the stage were the costumes and the make-up of that the performers had on. The painted faces sometimes terrified me, so much so that back then, I never could never muster up the courage to peek backstage where the performers would have their make-up done well before the performances started, even as many boys in my neighbourhood did. That was something that I thought I would never be able to do again as I grew up, wayangs became less common as Singapore’s rapid urbanisation resulted in many traditions being lost to modernisation. When I had heard of the troupe that is still performing on Pulau Ubin earlier, I had actually wanted to visit Pulau Ubin, even though I am not what one might consider to be a big fan, to immerse myself in atmosphere of being around once again, which perhaps I hope will transport me back to the carefree days of my childhood, and I was plesantly surprised when I got an invitation to watch one at the Singapore Food Trail and at the same time sample the street fare that I imagined was long lost. What was a huge bonus was the opportunity provided by the organisers as well as with the kind permission of the Thau Yong Amateur Musical Association, to watch and photograph the performers as they got their faces painted and hair done up on an authentic wayang stage. Being backstage was fascinating and I took it all in with the excitement of a child … taking lots of photographs some of which I have added to this post. What was equally fascinating was watching the performances which I thoroughly enjoyed and have perhaps Pei Yun of Oceanskies to thank for enlightening me on the excerpts that were being performed. I can also say that at the end of the evening performances I have become a little bit of a fan … Thau Yong Amateur Musical Association I understand in celebrating the 80th anniversary this year – I do hope that they are able to see at least another 80 and many more years to allow them to continue the excellent effort in keeping what is a dying tradition alive for our future generations.

The scene backstage about 3 hours before the performances.

A make-up artist helping a performer with her make-up.

The eyes have it ...

Two performers having their initial make-up done. Lipstick would be applied after dinner.

A peek backstage ...

A performer having make-up around her eyes done.

A peek outside ...

More eye work ...

A mirror to the face of a performer.

The hair is done after the initial make-up is applied.

Make-up and hair done ... but not the lips yet.

A male performer having his make-up done.

A female performer applying her initial make-up.

The hair being done for another performer.

Finishing touches on the hair.

Two performers sharing a lighthearted moment ...

Another performer relaxing during the preparations.

Putting her headdress on.

The female lead performer all dolled up.

The scholar ...

A female performer.

Full battle order.

The audience were treated to Teochew melodies before the Teochew Opera performance.

The performances were on an authentic wayang stage borrowed from the Pulau Ubin troupe.

Audiences young and old were enthralled.